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Influential former UA athletic director Dave Strack dies

Courtesy of Michiganensian

Dave Stracks in 1967.
Courtesy of Michiganensian Dave Stracks in 1967.

Former UA athletic director Dave Strack died on Saturday.

Strack served as the university’s athletic director from 1972 to 1982. During his decade-long tenure, he oversaw the opening of McKale Center and the Wildcats’ move from the Western Athletic Conference to the then-Pac-8.

He might, however, be best known for his 1972 hiring of Fred Snowden, the first black head coach at a major university.

“He was a forward-thinking administrator who did a lot for the University of Arizona and its athletics department,” said current UA athletic director Greg Byrne, in a press release.

Strack died at the age of 90.

Strack asked to be relieved of his administrative duties in 1982, after coming under fire as a result of a scandal involving the football team in 1980.

Former head football coach Tony Mason had faced criminal charges of filing false claims for travel expenses. Though he was acquitted by a Pima Country Superior Court jury, it was disclosed that a reserve or slush fund was created early in Strack’s regime by the athletic depart for its own use.

Following his resignation, Strack became a professor of physical education at the university.

Before coming to Arizona, Strack was the men’s head basketball coach at Michigan. In 1965, he led the Wolverines to the NCAA championship game, where they lost to UCLA.

—Follow Luke Della @LukeDella

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